Having some sort of yogurt side-dish with most meals always seemed so normal to me. We Iranians loooove our yogurt from the very normal plain yogurt (“maast” in Farsi) to the delicious doogh. (Note: I will need an entire post about doogh so you can Google it in the meantime if you don’t know what it is!) But when Neil asked me what he was supposed to eat with the yogurt the first few times he had Persian food, I realized that it wasn’t as straight-forward as I thought it was! Yes you can dip your pita bread in it and use it as a dip, but you don’t have to. My favorite, actually, is to put a little of it in each spoonful of my rice with kabob. Or rice with chicken. Or rice with any type of khoresht (different Persian stews). The list is endless.
However, when you want to fancy up a plain yogurt side, we always had maasto khiyaar (translates as “yogurt and cucumber”). And that’s exactly what it is for, as Neil will tell you, Iranians also loooove their cucumbers.
This is a simple and refreshing side, great for hot summer days. And spring days. And fall days. And winter days. You just can’t go wrong.
Here’s what you need:
One 2 lb container of plain yogurt (I don’t like that low fat stuff, but feel free to use it if you’re more health-conscious than I am!)
2-3 Persian cucumbers, grated or finely cubed– those are the little 4-6 inch ones, the big fat ones are too seedy and more watery
1/4 small onion, grated
1 tsp mint, fresh is best but dried works just fine
Salt and pepper
1. Beat the yogurt until nice and smooth. You don’t want the water to be separated from the yogurt at all.
2. Grate the cucumbers and onion and combine. Add to the yogurt.
3. Add in the mint and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Mix and serve with any and all meals ever.